KEY POINTS

  • Joel Cossio kidnapped the victim from her workplace's parking lot
  • The victim was assaulted at a different location and was dropped off at a mall
  • Cossio then drove away in the victim’s car

A Florida man was arrested Sunday for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a hospital staff as she arrived at her workplace.

Joel Cossio, 31, was arrested on a charge of car theft and was held without bail. He is now being held in Charlotte County awaiting a judge’s order allowing him to be transferred to Broward County, where he will face additional charges on kidnap and sexual assault, reported news outlet Washington Times.

The attack happened at around 7.20 a.m. EST Saturday when the woman was walking toward the Cleveland Clinic in Weston for work. Cossio allegedly attacked her at the parking lot, forced her back into her SUV and drove away. 

Cossio sexually assaulted the victim at a different location and dropped her off at a mall eight miles away, Broward Sheriff’s Office said. He then fled in her car, the Washington Times reported.

He was taken into custody without incident from Charlotte county around 150 miles from the place where the victim was attacked. Her SUV was also recovered from the same location.

“Any employee at a hospital is there to save lives, and when one of them is attacked and beaten it is just a horrific thought,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Don Prichard said, the Washington Times reported.

Cossio’s brother represented the family and responded to the incident through a statement.

“The family’s thoughts and prayers are currently with the victim, the victim’s family, and Joel. Their son suffers from mental illness and left home (that) morning after an argument regarding his medication. They would like to thank the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Det. Rausch, and the law enforcement officers who acted on the family’s information to apprehend Joel without incident. The family has no other comment at this time,” reported local news outlet South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Sheriff’s Office said there was no indication that Cossio knew the victim before, and they do not suspect the involvement of any other individuals in the assault.

handcuffs-3655288_640 (2) Cossio allegedly attacked her at the parking lot, forced her back into her SUV and drove away. Photo: pixabay

Kidnapping is a felony crime that can be punished with sentencing in prison, fines and probation. Aggravated kidnapping can result in sentencing in jail for 20 years or more and a fine up to $50,000.